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Ketamine is a short-acting but powerful general anesthetic which depresses the nervous system and causes a temporary loss of body sensation. This is why it has been used for operating on humans and animals. It has powerful hallucinogenic qualities (with a distortion of objects and reality). Slang terms for this drug include: Green, K, special K, super K, vitamin k

Ketamine can cause perceptual changes or hallucinations like LSD, in addition to its effects on reducing bodily sensation. Users can "trip" (feel "high") for up to an hour and may feel after-effects for some hours. It can give the user a floating feeling as if the mind and body have been separated.

Who uses ketamine? Teenagers and young adults represent the majority of ketamine users. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, individuals aged 12 to 25 accounted for 74 percent of the ketamine emergency department mentions in the United States in 2000.

Ketamine use among high school students is a particular concern. Nearly 3 percent of high school seniors in the United States used the drug at least once in the past year, according to the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Survey.

Users can become psychologically but not physically dependent on ketamine (which means you can develop the desire to keep taking it in spite of potential harm but without any withdrawal effects on stopping use). Over time, users may need to take increasing amounts of ketamine to achieve the same effect (tolerance).

Legally produced ketamine comes in liquid form which is usually injected. The illegally produced version usually comes as a grainy white powder which is typically snorted but it may also be obtained as a tablet. When it comes to the drugs purity, legally produced ketamine is pure; but illegally produced tablets are commonly found with ephedrine added (which is commonly used for treatment of allergies and asthma). Additionally, sometimes these are passed off as ecstasy.

It is illegal to abuse ketamine. Ketamine is a controlled substance. Specifically, it is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III drugs, which include codeine and anabolic steroids, have less potential for abuse than Schedule I (heroin) or Schedule II (cocaine) drugs. However, abuse of Schedule III substances may lead to physical or psychological dependence on the drug.

There are many risks of taking ketamine:

  • Because the user doesn't feel any pain when they are on ketamine, they can injure themselves badly and not know they have done it.
  • High doses, especially with other depressant drugs like alcohol, can dangerously suppress breathing and heart function and can lead to unconsciousness.
  • If high enough doses are taken, the anesthetic effect can result in death, for example due to unconsciousness and inhalation of vomit.
  • Ketamine can cause panic attacks, depression, and taken in large doses, can make existing mental health problems worse.
  • Ketamine is very dangerous when mixed with ecstasy or amphetamines. It can result in high blood pressure.
  • Users may be physically incapable of moving while under the influence.

In addition to the risks associated with ketamine itself, individuals who use the drug may put themselves at risk of sexual assault. Sexual predators reportedly have used ketamine to incapacitate their intended victims--either by lacing unsuspecting victims' drinks with the drug or by offering ketamine to victims who consume the drug without understanding the effects it will produce.

It is possible to test for the presence of ketamine metabolites in urine, blood, & hair, but it is an uncommon test to do. In the last couple years ketamine has become more widely known in the popular media and some testing companies have added it to their "Club Drug" testing battery.

Unless there is a particular reason to be looking for it, as in the case of an autopsy, specific ketamine tests are not normally conducted. It is not one of the standard drugs tested for in the basic drug test, nor is it included in the extended drug tests. If testing for ketamine is specifically requested, norketamine (the breakdown product of ketamine) is detectable in both blood and urine for 7-14 days and possibly longer in heavy users. Keep in mind that ketamine may cause false positives for PCP on some drug screens, but is clearly differentiable using follow-up confirming tests such as GC/MS.

In 2008, .5% of 8th grade students reported using Rohypnol at least once within that year.

In 2008, 1.5% of 12th grade students reported abusing Ketamine at least once within that year.

Some effects of ecstasy would be high blood pressure, increase in heart rate and a high sense of alertness.

Ecstasy is a stimulant and a hallucinogen, type of drug.

In 2008, 1.3% of the 8th grade population reported abusing LSD within the year of the interview.

Ketamine distorts perception and produces feelings of detachment from the environment and self.

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